Sun ’n Fun attendees did a a double-take this morning in front of the CubCrafters display, at least the ones very familiar with the company’s lineup. There’s a new Carbon Cub out there with a brand-new powerplant, and she’s a looker. The Carbon Cub UL prototype is a new model, paired with an also-just-unveiled Rotax 916 iS/c, a 160 hp, four-cylinder engine that edges into a niche beyond Rotax’s prior product offerings.
While the Carbon Cub UL can’t be operated as an ultralight here in the USA, deregistering and exporting to countries with different certification criteria will give some international operators the chance to operate this powerhouse combination as a European ultralight aircraft, and Rotax engines being designed for unleaded fuels also makes the international angle a much easier sell.
The design promises groundbreaking performance with a lighter airframe/engine combination. Previously, CubCrafters introduced their house-branded CC340 180 hp engine, but the new 916 iS/c is about 70 pounds lighter. Performance numbers haven’t been published but should be eye-watering, and what the Rotax lacks in horsepower will be more than offset in higher density altitude environments.
In addition to the boost in output, the 916 iS/c gives operators the option for powering a 24v electrical system. And at 160 hp, Rotax’s new offering steps into a market segment previously dominated by Lycoming’s O-320 series engines. The 916 iS/c has electronic engine control and maintenance diagnostic functions to aid troubleshooting.
“The launch of the 916iS/c is yet another testament to our commitment to developing ground-breaking technologies and creating the most advanced propulsion systems for our customers. For us, it was crystal clear that we had to build on the success of the 915 engine. We can now seize new opportunities in the four-seat market segment with a perfectly mature product and thus continue our steady growth of recent years. With the 916iS/c, we are responding to unmet customer needs and living up to the innovation philosophy of our long-standing company,” said Peter Ölsinger, General Manager, BRP-Rotax, and Vice-President, Sales, Marketing & Communications, Rotax Propulsion Systems.